Saturday, July 13, 2013


For a few years now, Gwen has been my muse for photography, but lately she's making me miss drawing and painting. There are so many photos that I love of her and I finally need to turn them into art - the kind I haven't done for darn near a decade by now. I want to sit and sketch a picture, with one of the photos I took today as the inspiration. I guess I'm writing this before actually doing it to hold myself accountable. There's been a lot of things I've intended to do over the years. Didn't do quite a few of them. So this will be different. I'm going to sit down with my pad of paper and bundle of H and B pencils (not sure I remember which are my favorite anymore). I'm hoping it will all come back to me. As much as I used to love doing art, it would truly be a shame if I let the gift slip away.

With G as my muse, I will do art again. I plan to post the work sometime soon. In the meantime, I must narrow down the photo to re-create...


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy 4th!

Our first family getaway was a success, if I do say so myself. Road trips are so fun! We loaded up the car with two days and one night's worth of clothes/essentials (which came out to be more than you'd think...) and took off!

Stopped in Emporia to eat at Applebee's (G's meal was free for the holiday - whoopee!) then back on the road. Gwen finally took a little dozer - so did mommy. I couldn't help it!

Checked into the hotel Marriott at the Country Club Plaza. They even opened our car doors for us! Ha! The room was cozy - a nice King bed for mommy and daddy, a pull-out couch for munchkin. But no time for laying around, it's H&M time! So off to the plaza we RODE! Shuttle service = awesome. Front door delivery, doesn't get much better. G in the stroller, rocking the shades indoors. Mama trying to get in the shopping mood (not as easy as it used to be). $150 later, I have one new shirt, daddy has 2, and G has a dress, 2 leggings, and a headband that she picked out herself (then refused to wear since...) Then A/X - mama's favorite. Flippy floppies and a jacket.

Time to eat again! Cheesecake Factory, here we come! Andy and I split the meal so that we'd have room for dessert of course. Who could go to the Cheesecake Factory and not eat cheesecake?!?!

I planned the trip as best I could, selecting a hotel then changing my mind again and again before finally settling on the Marriott near the Cheesecake Factory. Andy gave me one rule - do NOT put us in the hotel that's way up the hill/mountain from the plaza. We've made that mistake before. Well, unfortunately AFTER purchasing the non-refundable room, I Google mapped it. Oops. Oh well. A little exercise after eating all that we had wasn't a bad thing... But first, we stop to rest our bodies a bit before the hike - at the gorgeous fountain.

One more tiny rest, then into the car again as we head downtown to the casino's parking garage roof. We heard from the gal working at Lucky that it's a great spot to watch the fireworks display. We showed up way early so we decided to make our way down to the actual River Festival festivities. Basically paid $10 for the porta-potty (priceless). We made our way all the way back to our car and enjoyed a gorgeous fireworks show at a comfortable distance. Gwen thoroughly enjoyed. And even though her usual bedtime was hours before the show even began, she did an amazing job staying her sweet lovable self the whole day through.

She even argued as we slowly made our way out of the garage that it wasn't over yet! There were still fireworks! But we had to call it a night. And she was ready. Her in her bed and Daddy and I in ours, she said 'sweet dreams - turn out the light!'

The morning came too quickly - if not for the knock from housekeeping about 9AM, who knows when we might have started our day! No rush getting ready, some fun photo ops before check out...

Our view of the Plaza:

Lunch at Fritz's - a burger joint where the food is delivered via train. A track runs along the wall near the ceiling and places the food on a tray that lowers to the table. Genius. And a blast for the kiddos (obviously, because the place was packed!) Luckily, we were there right at open.

Then to the Aquarium. Not really what we had expected - it was more geared towards the kids. A very, keep-the-pace feel as opposed to others we've been to where is was more of a casual stroll. But Gwen had a lot of fun and saw lots of 'bloop-blups.' That's what we call fish. A 'Bloop-blup' is to fish as 'Moo moo' is to cow. We played the animal sound game long ago - this one really stuck! hehehe
I do think G was a bit disappointed that there were no mermaids...

One more stop at Kaleidescope (sp?) for some quick arts and crafts, then we finally had to say 'uncle'. Headed Home Sweet Home. We hardly made it out of the parking garage before Gwen was slumped over in her carseat, dreaming of fish and shopping bags and fireworks.

Stopped for some ice cream at a turnpike McD's. Home early evening - fit in a bike ride to the playground and back before bed.

What a fun trip! G's ready to see the fireworks again next year already! How do you explain - 'not for another year' to a 3-year-old? What's a year? I used to think it was a long time. Seems lately, they go pretty quick... Savoring every moment.

Thank you, Lord, for my wonderful life. For my wonderful family.
Blessings all around ♥

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Age Three

What a fun age! They're all fun so far in their own way, but I'm having a blast with three. As a parent, I am supposed to teach her, but I find more and more that I am the one learning. Gwen doesn't have a shy bone in her body. We go to the pool, the store, church... it's a big, bright, happy "HI!" from Gwen to whomever crosses her path. I watch how the gloomy faces around us turn into smiles, lots of giggles and kind words. How I wish I could bring out the happy in people as easily as my daughter does. I know, she does have utter cuteness on her side, but wouldn't it be nice if we all had that effect on those around us?

She is caring and sweet. Says "I love you" more times than I can count each day. God has blessed us with a beautiful person.

This idea came to me from Pinterest. 20 questions (which I tweaked and added 4) to ask every year around her birthday. She talks up a storm - I don't want to forget a moment. These questions will help me to remember this moment in time for years to come.

I had my assumptions of what the answers would be. First, I thought her answer to the first question would be blue. Boy, was I off. Her first answer to almost every question on here was Pink! So I'm glad I asked!

I thought her favorite toy would be the iPad. I thought her favorite food would be ice cream with sprinkles. Clothes, I would have assumed it would be a princess dress as most items I place on her are unacceptable if they don't twirl well. Maybe she meant pink princess dress?

I thought Daniel Tiger on the computer would be her favorite game. Assumed her favorite animal would be a dog. Song would be Taylor Swift's "Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together." Silly me, I thought I was her best friend. She tells me I am, until I tell her to do something she doesn't want to. She does what I say, but usually sneers, "you're not my best friend, mommy." To which I reply, "Ok."

The doctor toy answers really threw me for a loop. She was definitely dropping hints because even though she claims their her favorite indoor and outdoor activity, she doesn't actually even own doctor toys! Santa shall jot that one down... I thought outdoor activity would be to swing or play in the dirt; indoor would be playdoh.

Christmas is what I assumed would be the favorite holiday. She cannot go to bed without the singing bear or grey kitty cat - I always thought Clifford was optional...

As much as she loves to dance, I assumed Ballerina would be her occupation of choice, but a doctor will do.

'Tangled' is the movie we've watched most, but she does love Cinderella. Unfortunately, she loves the cheesy knock-off version best. She casts me as prince and we act it out quite frequently. G: "I have to go home," she says as she stops dancing and scurries away. R: "But wait, Princess! I don't even know your name!" And then we sing, "Where have you been all my life? I'm drawn like a moth to your flame..." Well, you get the idea. We do shows upon request, so keep that in mind if you enjoy theater.

The big blue car carts are her favorite so I assumed Lowes would be her favorite store. In her favorite book (well, the book I thought was her favorite - Ballet Bunny), she bunny goes to the ballet store. Perhaps that's the inspiration behind her response to the store question.

Never a dull moment with my little princess. I'm truly blessed to know her, well, as well as I think I know her. As you can see from the differences in our answers, I don't know her as well as I thought. Perhaps I should suggest a new game show much like Newlyweds, except with the kiddos. I'd be entertained!